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Rules of the Game

You can find detailed info on the Offical Rules page.

Quick Rules


The basic idea of the game is very simple. The aim is for the team with the disc to pass it up the field without dropping it and catch it in an end zone (see pitch diagram) which scores a point. The other team tries to intercept the disc or knock it down. The sport is non-contact and teams are generally mixed - both men and women play on the same team. The other important aspect of Ultimate is that there are NO REFEREES. The players are trusted to make all decisions by themselves.


The pitch looks a bit like this:

The Field of Play

If the numbers mean nothing to you, it's about as long as a football pitch, only a lot narrower, and the penalty areas are the end zones.


To start a point, the defending team "pulls" (throws) the disc from their end zone to the offensive team, who stand in the opposite end-zone. The object of the game is for a team to connect passes down the field until the disc is caught in their opponents' end zone, scoring one point. Teams change ends at the end of each point. Games are usually to 15 or 21, with a time cap of around 90 minutes, but play as long or as short a game as you like.

Quick Rules

  1. There is no running with the disc. The disc can only be moved up the field by passing it. When a player catches the disc they must establish a "pivot" foot before throwing, a little like basketball.
  2. The person with the disc has 10 seconds to throw. A defensive team member marks them and counts out loud, "stalling . . . one . . . two . . . three . . . "
  3. No physical contact is allowed between players. Contact results in a foul. In practice, small amounts of accidental contact are usually tolerated.
  4. A "turnover" occurs when the disc hits the ground, goes out of bounds, is dropped or intercepted. The team that last held the disc loses it, regardless of who knocks it down. The defensive team takes possession of the disc at that point and becomes the offensive team.
  5. Unlimited substitutions are allowed between points, although none during points.


Players call their own fouls when rule violations or contact occurs - there are no referees. A player disagreeing with a foul call can usually "contest" (dispute) the call, in which case the play is redone and the disc returned to the thrower. Players endeavour to be fair in their calls, so calls are rarely contested.

"Spirit of the Game"

Unique to Ultimate, and central to individual and team conduct, is the underlying Spirit of the Game, which embodies the sportsmanship which has sadly been lost from other sports. Players undertake to be competitive but fair and truthful, physical but careful, intense but friendly and courteous.

If you need more information, try the Offical Rules page.

Cambridge Ultimate
10:00 - 12:00
Main Practice
Location: announced on mailing list each week, usually
Coldham's Common
Everyone participates at their own risk, please cosider the conditions and general skill level, and play at a safe intensity.

More info...